Cooking is something we have to do everyday, so we’re always looking for inspiration. We find lots of new recipes on social media (TikTok food trends are always a hit, and we love following food celebs like Ina Garten and Martha Stewart on Instagram so we can see photos of their delicious meals), and magazine are usually a safe bet, but you can’t beat a classic cookbook. When we heard chef Bobby Flay and his daughter Sophie waxing poetic about a cookbook by chef Jonathan Waxman on the most recent episode of their podcast Always Hungry, and heard about the kale salad they order every time they eat at his restaurant, we knew we had to pick a copy of it up for ourselves.
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The cookbook is The Barbuto Cookbook: California-Italian Cooking from the Beloved West Village Restaurant by Jonathan Waxman. Flay actually worked for Waxman years ago, and says that’s where he learned about a lot of the fresh Southwestern flavors he’s so well known for today.
Waxman specializes in California-Italian cuisine. He’s credited with bringing California-style cusine to the East coast, before he pivoted to more Italian cooking. Flay can relate, becaue while he’s known for his Southwestern flavors, he recently opened up an Italian seafood restaurant, Amalfi, in Las Vegas.
In the Barbuto cookbook, you can find recipes like chicken with salsa verde, buccatini with pesto, little fish risotto, lamb with mint butter, duck with peas and morels – basically the types of recipes that are even better when you’re using the fresh, seasonal summer produce that’s in abundance right now.
Even better? The recipes in the book are super simple to make. Flay says he’s used this book a lot at home, because “sometimes you just want recipes that have, like, 5 ingredients,” which is extremely relatable.
The recipe Flay and his daughter make on the podcast is Barbuto’s legendary kale salad.
You can use dinosaur kale, also known as Tuscan kale, for this recipe. Flay says you want to bruise the kale as you chop it up for the recipe, making it tender, after removing the leaves from the stems. Don’t leave your kale in big pieces, or it’ll be hard to eat.
The dressing in the book is made with egg yolk, but Flay says that if you’re scared of using raw egg you can use a tablespoon of mayo instead. Red wine vinegar adds acidity, mustard a bit of bite, anchovies a savory depth, and olive oil, salt, and pepper are always necessary (Flay added some Meyer lemon juice too, because he had some on hand, and left out the basil, because he didn’t have any).
Because kale is so tough, it can stand up to a lot of pressure, so when you mix the greens with the dressing, don’t be afraid to get rough.
Pecorino cheese and olive-oil toasted panko breadcrumbs finish things off, adding nuttiness and some crunch.
The end result is a kale salad that’s tender, craveable, and perfectly dressed in a salty, savory, tangy vinaigrette you’ll want to scoop out of the salad bowl with some fresh bread.
If you’re looking to beef up your cookbook collection, the kale salad recipe is reason enough to add the Barbuto Cookbook to your shelf.
Other cookbooks Flay says are part of his permanent collection? The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rogers, famous for its roasted chicken recipe; Bitter Honey by Letitia Clark, which focuses on Sardinian food; Cook With Me by Alex Guarnaschelli; and My Lisbon by Nuno Mendes, about Portuguese food.
Nothing is better than leafing through a couple of beautiful cookbooks while you sip your morning coffee, then planning out what to buy at the market so you can make a delicious seasonal dinner. Once you have a stack of Flay’s recommended reads to look through, you’ll never be without culinary inspiration.
In search of more summer recipes? Giada De Laurentiis has plenty:
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